Some of the old notions about marriage relationships, often stated as wise truths by our grandmothers, are still floating around and are still doing damage. One of my grandmother’s favorites was “Never let the sun set on an argument.”

Silly idea number one: never go to bed angry.

I swallowed that one at about aged five. Then in my 20s my wife and I would argue half the night rather than go to sleep without settling the issue.

The problem was that nothing was ever resolved. The argument was “settled” with one of us giving in and the other having his or her way. To make matters worse, our anger was seldom about what we thought it was about. If we had just let the issues sit overnight, we might have realized what the anger was about and avoided an evening of pain and further alienation.

Silly idea number two: “You should know what I need without my telling you.”

Duh! I have written before about how expecting your partner to be a mind reader can lead to a mountain of disappointment.

Silly idea number three: “If you love me, you would…”

In the news last week a woman was granted a new trial regarding her involvement in her boyfriend’s killing a teenaged boy. She is reported to have said to her boyfriend as he beat the boy, “If you love me, you’ll kill him.”

Love is love. Never assume a specific action should automatically follow love.

Silly idea number four: once you’re married, the man should not look at other women and the woman should not look at other men.

We are social beings who live in families, towns and cities. We’re surrounded by people of both sexes, who are programmed to look good in public. And if that is not enough, there’s always someone out there who is better looking and younger than our spouse.

The insanity of expecting oneself not to look at what is good to look at leads to secrecy and insane jealousy, both of which can destroy a marriage relationship. Looking does not mean leering, touching or having a romantic interest. Looking is just part of being alive.

Silly idea number five: You should never vacation alone.

Vacations are good, and they can be very good if taken together. However, for some working couples especially, vacations would be few and far between if they had to take all of them together. So they take individual vacations when they can. Their solo vacations are okay as long as no one feels guilty about it, because guilt wrecks havoc on marriage relationships.

There are other such sillies out there, like “verbal abuse isn’t dangerous,” and “what happens at home, stays at home.” Can you think of a few more?

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Neill Neill, psychologist, author and columnist, maintains an active practice with a focus on healthy relationships and life after addictions. He is the author of Living with a Functioning Alcoholic - A Woman’s Survival Guide. From time to time life presents us all with issues. To find out what insights and guidance Neill shares about your particular questions, go to